New S. Division gallery space, Cerasus Studio, debuts with focus on new and local talent

With a little less than one month to go until its official ribbon-cutting ceremony, the new Cerasus Studio at 120 S. Division was designed by founder and curator Callin Cherry to be more than just 144 square feet of display space. 

“The name Cerasus refers to a species of tree that can only grow when cultivated well; the same can be said of our talents, and the goal of Cerasus Studio is to provide fertile soil for undergraduate art students,” says Cherry, who signed the lease on the space with Dwelling Place back in May. “I think it's important to show that just like any other career ‘tree,’ artists are just as sturdy and upward-moving. Connotations of art as a natural process and a source of vitality are of course very much also a part of that.” 

For the past three years, Cherry has worked as curator for Art.Downtown, also occupying the role of Avenue for the Arts’ education coordinator last winter and spring, as well as assistant curator of the Cathedral Square venue during ArtPrize 7. 

The decision to open Cerasus, she says, was in part an effort to create more opportunities for herself to experiment with her style and approach to curating as an art all its own, but it was solidified while working as education coordinator with Avenue for the Arts, for which she provided business classes to career artists. 

“I realized that a lot of creatives go into a career and still have a lot of questions,” she says, adding that she noticed many art students, after earning their bachelor’s degrees, still aren’t comfortable with writing artist statements and are often unfamiliar with how to write proposals, as well as some of the other practical skills that come with being a career artist.

“Along with skills like pricing work and marketing, I intend to help young local artists cultivate a confidence to communicate their art to others in a way that will make them successful,” she says.

Though Cherry says renovations on the space weren’t super extensive, she and her boyfriend — who together occupy the back of the property as living space — spent the last few months repairing a good amount of drywall and repainting the walls.

“The floors are resin, as far as we can tell, and show a lot of paint from previous tenants who used this as studio space,” Cherry says. “I think it's an interesting character to a gallery, which are often very minimalist.”

As far as the art itself goes, Cherry says she welcomes anything and everything, but is looking forward to working with contemporary and installation artists in particular. 

Cerasus Studios will open its doors for the first time on Aug. 5 at 5:30 p.m. during a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted by Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc., followed by the exhibition “Black Borders” featuring artists Caroline Cook and Lesley Albert.

“We'll have snacks and beverages for guests, but the public is also welcome to bring their own and celebrate with us,” Cherry says. “In addition to providing local artists with skills, I'm really passionate about changing what it means to be in a space with art; let's have some fun!” 

For more information on the space or its Aug. 5 opening event, find Cerasus Studios here on Facebook.

Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Cerasus Studios/Callin Cherry
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